(3) Tigers 7, (1) Longhorns 6
June 22, 2009
LSU rallies to topple Texas in 11th in Game 1 of CWS finals
Updated: June 23, 2009, 12:49 AM ET
OMAHA, Neb. -- LSU short-circuited Texas' power surge Monday night.
Freshman Mikie Mahtook singled in the winning run in the top of the 11th inning after DJ LeMahieu tied the game in the ninth, and LSU survived Texas' five home runs to beat the Longhorns 7-6 in Game 1 of the College World Series finals.
"I've been fortunate to be around some kids who have played some great games through the years, and I savor all the victories, but this one was really sweet," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "On the biggest stage, with their backs against the wall, to come up with that kind of an effort is one for the ages."
LSU (55-16) would win its sixth national title with a victory over the Longhorns (49-15-1) on Tuesday night.
LeMahieu walked leading off the 11th against Brandon Workman (3-4), stole second with two outs and took third when catcher Cameron Rupp's throw went into center field.
Mahtook delivered after struggling his first four at-bats. He required intravenous fluids to treat cramps in the sixth inning, and he struck out three times and hit into a double play. He punched a single into right field in the 10th before facing Workman in the 11th.
"My first three at-bats, it wasn't like I just struck out. It was three terrible at-bats. I was chasing balls in the dirt," Mahtook said. "I stayed back on a change-up and bounced into a double play. When I got into the dugout, guys were telling me to make sure I keep my head straight. Jared Mitchell told me I was going to come back up again with a big at-bat, and you're going to come through for us. That helped me out a lot."
• LSU scored two runs on a DJ LeMahieu double in the ninth to force extra innings, then beat Texas 7-6 when Mikie Mahtook singled in the winning run in the 11th.
• The game was the longest by innings and time in the seven-year history of the CWS finals.
• This was the first game Texas lost in 40 games this season when it led heading into the ninth.
• LSU has won nine times this season when it trailed in the seventh inning or later.
• The teams combined for a CWS-record seven solo home runs.
• Texas ace Chance Ruffin tied a season-high with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, while LSU starter Louis Coleman struggled and gave up five homers in six innings.
• LSU's last six runs were scored with two outs.
• The Tigers improved to 44-6 when they score first.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Matty Ott (4-2) struck out Brandon Loy and Tim Maitland and got Connor Rowe to ground out to finish off Texas, which had walkoff wins in two of its first three CWS games.
"It has to happen some time. We can't have all the glorious game-ending victories," said Russell Moldenhauer, who hit two of Texas' homers. "We've got to throw that aside and come back with the same feeling we had at the beginning of this game."
The Tigers, who won their 14th straight, came back from deficits of 3-1 and 6-4. LeMahieu hit the tying, two-out double in the top of the ninth off Austin Dicharry. LeMahieu and Ryan Schimpf also homered for the Tigers.
Texas, trying to become the first No. 1 national seed since Miami in 1999 to win the championship, continued its show of power. The Longhorns came to Omaha with 39 homers in 61 games, but have 11 in four games here.
Texas is better known for playing small ball: The Longhorns are only the fifth team to record more than 100 sacrifice bunts in a season.
But the wind has been blowing out at hitter-friendly Rosenblatt Stadium.
All three of Moldenhauer's homers this season have come in the CWS. He was one of three Longhorns to go deep in the fourth inning, and he broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth with his opposite-field shot to left.
Travis Tucker and Kevin Keyes also homered in the fourth, and Rowe did it in the seventh.
"How do I explain it? We're not playing at Disch-Falk. That field just swallows the ball," Moldenhauer said of Texas' home stadium. "We're at a little bit smaller ballpark, and that has helped out the offense."
Over a span of 6 1/3 innings, from their previous game against Arizona State to Monday's matchup with LSU, seven of the Longhorns' 11 hits were home runs.
Texas is the first team since LSU in 1998 to homer three times in an inning at the CWS. All five Texas homers were solo shots off LSU starter Louis Coleman.
"It was great to see the rest of the team pick up Coleman," Mainieri said. "He felt he let his team down. The balls were flying out of the ballpark. I'm not saying they were cheap. But if you got the ball up in the air today, it had a chance to go out."
In the LSU ninth, Sean Ochinko singled off Austin Wood and Derek Helenihi was walked by Taylor Jungmann. Dicharry came on and struck out Tyler Hanover before LeMahieu doubled into the left-field corner to tie it.
LSU's bullpen held the Longhorns hitless over the last five innings. Ott worked the last three, striking out three.
Texas coach Augie Garrido said his players only need to look back at last year's finals to see it's possible to come back after losing Game 1.
"Georgia wiped out Fresno State in the first game last year and was ahead in the second game," Garrido said. "Fresno came back and waltzed off with the national championship on the third day."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press